Annarita Guarnieri has kindly agreed to be interviewed today.
Tell us about your latest project?
Well, my latest project started here in Italy, last year, and now will soon be published in the US as well, by Inknbeans Press. It is a series of small books about cats, based on my 20 years of life with cats. The first one, “How to Survive Being Owned by a Cat”, aims to give a series of practical suggestion on how to “handle” a cat, be it a kitten or an adult cat… not the things you’ll find on a regular manual, but the tricks you learn through direct experience. And there are also a lot of anecdotes about how I came to devise those tricks in the first place.
When and why did you start writing?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I did not want to write. Well, when I was very small, four or five, and could not write yet, I would spend afternoons inventing stories and using my dolls and other toys as the other characters of the plot (I always was the main character, of course). Growing up, I started “rewriting” plots of movies whose ending I did not like, or to write a follow up story because I liked the characters. That was step two. Then I tried writing a few short stories of my own, when I was in my teens, with the predictable result of writing something awful. Much later, in the Eighties, I got into a Star trek club, here in Italy, and had the luck of becoming close friends with a very good writer, Mariangela Cerrino. When I started writing stories for our fanzines, she finally taught me exactly how to build a good story. Since then, I’ve written a few short stories, a Star Trek short novel, and I have some projects still under work.
You mention writing Star Trek fan fiction for quite a while, do you think you’ll ever try to write your own sci-fi world at any point?
Well, I love Star Trek, its universe and most of all its (original) characters, but what I loved was not the SciFi setting of the saga, it was the relationship among the characters themselves: To tell the truth, I never liked Science Fiction very much. I translated a lot of it in the past, but my favorite dimension is Fantasy, because I find it a better instrument to give room to what I like best: delving into the nature of the characters and in their psychology.
What’s your favourite genre to write and what’s your favourite genre to read?
Well, this is a difficult question, for I have always been a rather omnivorous reader. A few years ago I would have answered “fantasy” without any hesitation, but since the good, old heroic fantasy has changed into urban fantasy, dealing mostly with vampires in love, I’ve turned my attention to other genres that appealed to me in the past. Right now I read almost anything, from mainstream to thrillers, to horror (if it is really good) to… you name it!
As for my writing, it’s more or less the same thing. I started writing inside the Star Trek universe, then I began writing a fantasy saga but never finished it… it’s a project still in my drawer, so to speak, and sooner or later I’ll get back to it. Instead I started writing short stories that vary in genre… comic, dramatic, gothic, vampire. So I suppose I’ve become omnivorous in my writing too!
What inspires you?
This is a difficult question. As a writer, I undoubtedly had two sources of inspiration, my friend Mariangela Cerrino first, for I grew up reading her books, and then David Gemmell, who still is my favorite author ever. But to exactly define what inspires me is rather difficult. You could say that my pen goes where the heart and the mind lead it!
What are you planning on doing next/What else are you up to?
Well, I have a few more ideas concerning cats, and actually a second book about them that should be published here in Italy in Spring. I’m also working on a gothic/historical novel set here in Italy in the year 1200, and I’m trying and planning to put my hands on that fantasy novel, The Dawning Crown, that has been sitting in my drawer for so long. In the meanwhile, I go on with my main job as a translator and editor.
I imagine being a translator and editor for your main job can be both helpful as a writer and make it harder, which do you find?
It is a little of both. It is very helpful because across the years (I began working as a translator and editor in 1979) it has helped me hone my English (I’m Italian, born and bred) and to get to recognise a truly good book, to learn how a book must be written to be deemed “good”. At the same time, translating is a time consuming job, so writing on the side is far from easy because of lack of time. I have a lot of projects hanging just because of that.